Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘tree

July 4th

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July 4th is my birthday. It always has been. While I could commemorate the date by showing you one picture for each birthday I’ve had, I think you’ll agree that would be too onerous for me and certainly for you. Instead, let me focus on the 4 in today’s date and show you four pictures I took in the southern part of Great Hills Park on June 23rd. The first thing that caught my attention, just beyond the metal railing along the sidewalk on that side of Floral Park Drive, was the dense display of Clematis drummondii flowers. Like pale yellow-green stars in a floral firmament they were.

Then I wandered steeply down to the shaded bank of the creek that flows through that section of the park. The creek had mostly dried up, which is common in the heat of the Texas summer. Some water remained pooled up in one small part of the creek bed, and on the surface of the stagnating pool I saw a dry leaf, apparently that of a mustang grape, Vitis mustangensis. Several grapes had fallen in that area and one of them miraculously lay on top of the little raft that the leaf had become for it. Even when the leaf shifted slightly in its floating, the grape didn’t roll off.

When I finished taking pictures of the de facto raft, I noticed on the far bank of the creek, which lay lit up by lambent sunlight, what I feel compelled to call glaucous glop. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it, at least photographically.

After I walked a minute or so downstream from the glaucous glop, I came across a shed snake skin on a mostly dried-out portion of the creek bed. The snake skin had been rent into several parts that remained near one another. The tail end, shown here, lay flattened onto a level portion of the creek bed. A little piece of dry Ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei, conveniently delineated the wider end of that segment.

Following suit, this sentence conveniently delineates the end of my July 4th tetralogy. Except that I’m adding a sentence to say that if you can slip the words lambent, delineate and tetralogy into a conversation today, it’ll be a fine birthday present for a lover of words.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2017 at 12:01 AM

American Elm Survivor Tree

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We drove up to Oklahoma City on April 19th and learned after we arrived that the date marked the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist bombing there. That afternoon we walked the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and saw the decorations that had been placed on all the chairs in the Field of Empty Chairs. The next day we visited the indoor museum, and after emerging I photographed an American elm, Ulmus americana, that has come to be known as the Survivor Tree. Heavily damaged, the elm managed to stay alive; it even bloomed the next year and has done so every year since then. You can hear/read more in an NPR interview.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 14, 2017 at 4:53 AM

Posted in nature photography

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New Zealand: kauri bark

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You’ve already seen a picture from February 12 showing Tāne Mahuta, the largest known extant kauri tree, Agathis australis. Three days later we visited the Manginangina Kauri Reserve northwest of Kerikeri. In spite of intermittent rain, we walked the [p]reserve’s path, where I made various pictures, including this abstract portrait of kauri bark.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 2, 2017 at 5:01 AM

New Zealand: kohurangi

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You can find old pictures of people with outstretched arms encircling the base of Tāne Mahuta but that’s no longer possible. Out of concern that the roots were getting trampled, the tree’s caretakers have planted vegetation around it to act as a shield (and also to restore native species to the area). Here in front of Tāne Mahuta you see the flowers of what the Māori call kohurangi and English speakers know as a tree daisy; botanists have yet another name, Brachyglottis kirkii.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2017 at 4:52 AM

New Zealand: Tāne Mahuta

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On a cloudy February 12th we visited Tāne Mahuta, about which Wikipedia says: “Tāne Mahuta is a giant kauri tree (Agathis australis) in the Waipoua Forest of Northland Region, New Zealand. Its age is unknown but is estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years. It is the largest kauri known to stand today. Its Māori name means ‘Lord of the Forest’ (see Tāne), from the name of a god in the Māori pantheon.” If you’d like, you can read the rest of the article, which includes measurements.

The kauri trees in New Zealand suffered a fate similar to that of the sequoias and giant redwoods in California: in the 1800s and 1900s most got cut down for their wood.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Corrugated redwood tree

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Look at this strangely corrugated trunk of a California redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) that I saw on October 31 of last year in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 23, 2017 at 5:12 AM

Arizona sycamore

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While visiting Montezuma Castle on October 18th last year I learned that there’s such a thing as an Arizona sycamore tree, Platanus wrightii. Like the better-known American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, this one has bark that peels to reveal trunk and branches that shine white in the light of the sun, especially from a distance. A closer look, like the one below, reveals patterns and details.

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Click to enlarge.


I’m still halfway around the world. You’re welcome to comment but I may be slow to reply. I’m sorry I also haven’t been able to keep up with your blogs.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 20, 2017 at 5:12 AM

Posted in nature photography

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